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View Daniel Blaikie Profile
Thank you.
I think it is important to start with an expression of some serious frustration that we didn't get this document earlier, not just earlier than this meeting to allow us to prepare for this meeting, but earlier in the process generally. That is why the NDP undertook to negotiate with the government to change the policy to ensure that, going forward, economic impact assessments are tabled coincident with ratifying legislation to give parliamentarians time to absorb this information. Then we'd be able to ask better questions and get some clarity on negotiation objectives and whom we're actually negotiating with, because sometimes that hasn't always been clear. I think those changes will serve parliamentarians well, but also members of civil society and Canadians who watch the trade file closely.
That said, I'm perplexed at the amount of time it took to prepare this document. Here I think of the U.S. having produced, not just a much longer document, but also, as we heard today, a document with a level of analysis we weren't able to duplicate here in Canada. I just heard that today. It's disappointing, I would say, because it's not as if the U.S. report was just tabled this afternoon. It goes back to April 2019. We knew what kind of analysis the Americans were undertaking. We had a signed agreement. Now it's changed. Democrats in the United States were able to succeed in making some improvements.
Am I to understand that Global Affairs hadn't begun work on a number of the...? I ask because there's a lot in the agreement that's the same between the two versions, the one that preceded the December agreement of last year and the December agreement itself. If most of the agreement is the same, and it is, then how is it that we could get to December—never mind December but February 2020—and not have most of that economic analysis complete?
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